Events of all shapes, sizes, and formats are quickly becoming an integral part of any marketing strategy. The question is, are you set up to take advantage of what can and should be a powerful lead generation tool?
Vice President of Marketing at Neon One, Erin Stender, says the key moving forward is going to be looking at those community-based experiences as a bigger part of their overall marketing strategy. Here she talks about the opportunity in front of a lot of marketing teams and what tools and software capabilities she is looking for to help her get where she wants to go.
Lennd: How many events do you produce each year?
Erin: This is a broad range but it’s somewhere between 15 and 30. That number encompasses mostly webinars and one conference. Next year we are looking to do four mini conferences.
Lennd: What do the mini conferences look like?
Erin: Think of them as virtual workshops or small group circles and are driven by thought leadership topics. We’ll blast a targeted list of about 100 people with an aim to gather 25 for an intimate conversational experience.
Lennd: How important are events to your lead generation process?
Erin: Historically, events have not been part of the lead gen strategy, rather they are more of the community experience strategy but event marketing needs to become more integrated into our lead generation strategy.
Lennd: What do you need to do to make that shift?
Erin: This year we focused on more macro topics like COVID and the changing landscape of the workforce. Moving forward we need to go more micro and make sure the topics are more directly related to everyday challenges and pain points.
We also need to be even more strategic about who we invite and why we invite them, and then tie the metrics directly to the sales funnel.
Lennd: What tools are in your marketing tech stack and are there any that can help you tie your event metrics to the sales funnel?
Erin: I like looking at our tech stack like a wheel with a hub and spokes. The hub is our CRM, Salesforce, and all the spokes are like add-ons that need to plug into the hub seamlessly.
For example, one of our spokes includes all our email automation tools. Then we have a spoke for all our social tools. Our short stack for video includes Wistia and an accessibility tool that helps with captions and translations.
Looking ahead, we want to invest in tools that enhance the data around our sales funnel, whether that’s attribution metrics or greater lead insights.
Lennd: What about your event spoke?
Erin: For events we have used a combination of tools including Wistia, YouTube and Go To Webinar but the integrations aren’t seamless so require some additional manual work to provide the end user the experience we want.
Lennd: What have been the biggest challenges with the event technology you have used in the past?
Erin: I think one challenge has been not looking at event tools and software as part of the overall marketing tech stack and instead as a functional need to host and run an event. Because of this one dimensional way of looking at event tech, we've missed some opportunities to tie the event to real revenue. This is where I'd want to flip the challenge into an opportunity.
Lennd: So you want an event tool that can be a one-stop shop and integrate with your other tools?
Erin: Yes. The most important integration would be with our CRM so it ties into the sales process. Instead of thinking about the event management tool as an add-on, it needs to be an integral part of the sales process too.
Announcing: Neon One + Lennd
In an effort to make events a more integral part of their lead generation strategy, Neon One has partnered with Lennd as they prepare to host a series of upcoming webinars. On a mission to drive growth for nonprofits, Neon One has a docket of informative webinars, virtual workshops, and a user conference. Their aim is to treat these community-driven events as a more strategic piece of the sales funnel and they are looking to Lennd to help them do that.
Co-Founder and CEO of Lennd, Chris Carver says, "It's an honor to work with a marketing team as talented and forward thinking as NeonOne. We've really positioned the Lennd platform to be a critical component to our partners' overall marketing strategy and marketing tech stack. So it's incredible to see how this can have a big impact on their lead gen initiatives."
Lennd is a next generation event management platform that lets you manage all your events—virtual, hybrid and live—in one place. It simplifies operations and logistics so event teams can work smarter, move faster, and improve their ROI.
To learn how Lennd can support your virtual or hybrid event management needs, visit: www.lennd.com.
At Neon One, we've created a nonprofit software ecosystem for fundraising, donor outreach, payments, and more. It's everything your nonprofit needs. www.neonone.com